LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Three urns, all belonging to the same family, were found abandoned at a senior living facility. Two of the deceased are veterans.
After someone suggested throwing them away, a community is coming together to make sure they make it to their final resting place with full military honors.
For more than a year and half, the remains of Stella, her husband Theodore and their son Earnest stayed abandoned at the Clark Towers Assisted Living. This resulted after their other son who was holding on to his family’s ashes died.
Apartment manager Tammy Wilp found the urns tucked away in a closet for decades but quickly realized there was no other family to hand them over to.
“I would never be able to throw them away. I couldn’t,” Wilp said.
Not knowing what to do, she called Reverend Grace Thompson for help.
“Even when I called Los Angeles, because these three are from there and their bodies were processed there, I was told three times to throw them away,” said Reverend Grace Thompson of Las Vegas United Church of Christ.
With a little bit of digging, they found out Theodore and his son Earnest were veterans.
“I had to sign papers from the veteran’s cemetery which means I am responsible, and I took that really seriously to make sure my three urns had a proper burial,” said Reverend Thompson.
But their mom stella was not going to be allowed to be buried with them unless someone paid a $450 fee.
“They were in life and they needed to be in death,” Wilp said.
So, the Veterans of Foreign War group stepped in to help with funds
“It was a no-brainier for us,” said Bob Garlow of VFW Post 36. “We brought it up in our meeting and everyone agreed to it.”
The family of three urns will be laid to rest together with full military honors on July 13 at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City.
As for apartment manager Tammy Wilp, she told her residents to let her know if they have urns and who to give them to in the event of their passing.
Additionally, Reverend Thompson’s church came up with a program called from “Womb to Tomb” that offers guidance on abandoned urns.